|Publication number||US7154399 B2|
|Application number||US 10/822,234|
|Publication date||Dec 26, 2006|
|Filing date||Apr 9, 2004|
|Priority date||Apr 9, 2004|
|Also published as||CN1691077A, CN100405409C, DE602005010322D1, EP1585078A2, EP1585078A3, EP1585078B1, US20050237206|
|Publication number||10822234, 822234, US 7154399 B2, US 7154399B2, US-B2-7154399, US7154399 B2, US7154399B2|
|Inventors||Paul Edward Cuddihy, Meena Ganesh, Jenny Marie Weisenberg, Catherine Mary Graichen, Vrinda Rajiv, Mark Mitchell Kornfein|
|Original Assignee||General Electric Company|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (17), Non-Patent Citations (1), Referenced by (17), Classifications (20), Legal Events (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The invention relates generally to a system and method for monitoring activity within a home. More particularly, the invention relates to a system and method for determining, through the monitoring of in-home movement, whether a resident of a home is at home or has left the home.
With medical advancements and increased attention to proper nutrition and sufficient exercise, the world population is living longer. For example, the number of elderly persons residing in the United States is increasing, and with the advancing age of the baby boomer generation, the number of elderly persons in the United States will increase significantly over the next several decades. Additionally, increased awareness and understanding of various mental and physical disabilities has led to an increase in the number of persons having diminished mental and/or physical faculties living independently.
With the increase in elderly and disabled persons living independently has come anxiety that these elderly and disabled persons are safe and secure in their own residences. There is increased anxiety by the elderly and disabled living alone that they may become injured or incapacitated and be unable to summon assistance. That anxiety is often shared by loved ones living at a distance from the elderly and/or disabled living independently.
Currently, the anxiety felt by the elderly and disabled living alone, as well as the anxiety felt by their loved ones, is addressed through several avenues. One way to ease anxiety is through frequent visits to the home by a caregiver. Such visits can be intrusive, time consuming, and often inconvenient and not appreciated. Another way is for the elderly or disabled person to move out of the home and move into a facility better able to monitor his health. This, however, strips the person of his independence, is costly and is often unwelcome. Another way is through technological assistance or monitoring of the person in the home.
Such technological systems that assist persons in their home include Personal Emergency Response Systems. In these systems the elderly or disabled individual wears a watch, pendant or other like device and presses a button in the event of an emergency, such as a fall. The depressed button enables an alarm signal. A central monitoring facility provides assistance by responding to the alarm signal and calls the individual to identify the problem. The facility calls a predetermined list of contacts, such as relatives, neighbors or emergency services, as required by the context of the situation. While a valuable service, these systems only identify problems that occur when the individual is able to press the emergency button.
One disadvantage experienced with some known in-home monitoring systems is the inability to accurately detect whether a resident within a monitored home has been unusually inactive or is instead away from the home. These known in-home monitoring systems provide the resident with one or more button that can be pressed to indicate whether the resident is home or is away. The resident's responsibility to indicate whether he is in the house or away often goes unfulfilled, leading to a high false alert rate and low sensitivity for such known systems.
Thus, there remains a need for a system and method for ascertaining whether a resident is within a monitored home or is instead away from the home.
The invention is directed to a system and method for ascertaining whether a resident of a monitored home is at home or has left the home.
In one exemplary embodiment of the invention is provided a system for determining whether a resident of a home is inactive within the home or away from the home. The system includes at least one motion sensor positioned to detect a first activity and to transmit a first signal indicative of the first activity and at least one exterior door sensor positioned to detect motion of an exterior door of the home and to transmit a second signal indicative of the motion. Further, the system includes a monitoring center in communication with the at least one motion sensor and the at least one exterior door sensor. The monitoring center is adapted to determine whether a resident of the home is inactive within the home or is away from the home based upon the timing of the first signal relative to the second signal.
In one aspect of the system embodiment of the invention, the at least one motion sensor is a wireless motion sensor that includes a timer adapted to run a pre-selected time period after the detection of the first activity. Further, in this one aspect, the system the at least one exterior door sensor includes at least one wireless exterior door sensor positioned to detect motion of an exterior door of the home and to transmit a second signal indicative of the motion.
In another aspect of the system embodiment of the invention the monitoring center is adapted to determine whether the home is in an active state, a quiet state, or an away state based upon the timing of the first signal relative to the second signal.
Another exemplary embodiment of the invention is a method for determining a state of activity within a home. The method includes providing at least one motion sensor to detect an activity event within a home and to transmit a first signal indicative of the activity event and providing at least one exterior door sensor to detect an exterior door movement event at the home and to transmit a second signal indicative of the exterior door movement event. Further, the method includes determining, with a central processing unit adapted to utilize information from the first and second signals in a state model, whether the home is in an active state, a quiet state, or an away state based upon the timing of the first signal relative to the second signal.
Another exemplary method embodiment of the invention is a method for determining whether a resident is within a home or away from the home. The method includes the steps of sensing motion within the home, wirelessly sending a first signal to a central monitoring center indicating the home is in an active state, and starting a timer for a pre-determined period of time. Upon expiration of the pre-determined period of time without sensing any further motion within the home, a second signal is wirelessly sent to the central monitoring center indicating the home is in a quiet state. Further, the method senses movement of an exterior door to the home and sends a third signal to the central monitoring center indicative of the movement of the exterior door. Finally, the method compares a time of the third signal with the time of the second signal to determine whether a resident of the home has left the home or is inactive within the home.
These and other advantages and features will be more readily understood from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention that is provided in connection with the accompanying drawings.
Referring now to the drawings, where like numerals relate to like features, there is shown in
The motion sensor 10 further includes a detector section 18. The detector section 18 includes a hardware portion 20 and a signal processor 22. The hardware portion 20 includes a sensing portion that detects motion. The hardware portion 20 serves to pass an amplified and filtered version of the output of the sensing portion to the signal processor 22. The signal processor 22 includes necessary logic to determine if the signal coming from the hardware portion 20 constitutes a human activity. The hardware portion 20 preferably includes a passive infrared motion detector mechanism. Alternatively, the hardware portion may include ultrasonic, microwave, radar, or infrared motion detectors, or any combinations of these, such as, for example, infrared with microwave or infrared with radar. The signal processor 22 takes signals from the hardware portion 20 and determines what is motion.
With reference to
The communications relay panel 36 communicates the sensor data collected from the sensors 10, 32 by sending a data signal 38 containing the sensor data to the remote monitoring center 42 by way of a suitable wired or wireless communications platform 40, such as, for example, wired telephone, wireless telephone, two-way walkie-talkie, pager, cable, the Internet, or any other suitable wired or wireless communication platform. Depending upon the communication platform 40 chosen, the data signals 38 may be sent in near real-time or may be sent at discrete, irregular intervals. By near real-time is meant within the range of almost instantaneously to up to three minutes. For example, data signals 38 may be sent in near real-time via wireless telephone, two-way walkie-talkie, pager, cable, the Internet or any other wireless communication platform. If a wired telephone communication platform is utilized, the data signals 38 may be buffered and transmitted at differing intervals.
The monitoring center 42, which is remote from the home 30, includes a database 46, a programmable event detector 48, a continuous status report generator 50, a PERS 52, a central processing unit (CPU) 54, and a State Model 56. The database 46 serves as a collection vessel for the sensor data communicated via the signals 38. A search mechanism 44 is used for searching the database 46. Upon a request from the caregiver for a status report, the sensor data is forwarded from the database 46 to the continuous status report generator 50. The status report generator 50 communicates a near real-time status signal to a personal computer of the caregiver. By near real-time is meant anywhere in the range of almost instantaneously to up to three minutes. For example, for a two-way page communication platform 40, the amount of time required for the communication can be between two and three minutes. The status report generator 50 may be programmed to update the report for each home 30 at a certain interval, such as, for example, every ten minutes. The status signal includes a report generated by the continuous status report generator 50. The format and substance of the report are dependent upon the request of the caregiver and can be modified at the request of the caregiver. It should be appreciated that the signal can instead be communicated via a personal digital assistant (PDA), a pager, a facsimile machine, cable, or a telephone or voice-mail account instead of via the personal computer.
The caregiver 38 can also select certain activities that, if they occur in the home 30, would be considered an event. An event, in general, would include an activity or any important transition occurrence, such as a state transition (the change from one state to another, such as, for example, from active to quiet), of which a caregiver would want to be apprised. For example, use of an exterior door may be considered an important activity or state transition occurrence. The caregiver communicates the parameters of what constitutes an event to the remote monitoring center 42, such as, for example, setting the parameters via a website. While the caregiver does not determine whether an event has occurred, the caregiver can select from a set of predefined activities that constitutes an event. Further, the caregiver sets the parameters to configure the events to match the normal activity of the resident in the home 30. For example, the caregiver does not define what constitutes, for example, “wake up”, but the caregiver can define when “wake up” would be considered late. The sensor data is stored and processed at the monitoring center 42. If the data indicates the occurrence of an event, a signal is sent to the caregiver via any suitable communication medium, such as, for example, wired or wireless telephone, PDA, pager, facsimile, cable, two-way walkie-talkie, e-mail, or other Internet-supported communication media, such as, for example, through a pop-up announcement format. The caregiver is then provided the opportunity to open a communication pathway with the person residing in the home 30. The communication pathway may be through a wired or wireless telephone line, the Internet browser (i.e., e-mail or other Internet-sponsored communication tool), cable, PDA, pager, or personal, such as a visit by the caregiver or another suitable person.
The sensors 10, 32 can be positioned in various locations throughout the home 30. The sensors 10, 32 may be categorized by types, for example, as motion, exterior door (sensor 32), food, or automobile sensors. It should be appreciated that the number of sensors 10, 32 used may depend upon the layout of the home 30, as well as other factors.
Next, with specific reference to
By going to sleep at Step 168, the use of conventional wireless motion sensors may lead to anomalous results. For example, a resident may open an exterior door, such as a door off of the kitchen to put out the garbage, put out the garbage and close the door and move to the bedroom within a time span of less than three or four minutes. By opening the exterior door, the conventional motion sensor has reported an open at Step 162, and then gone into the sleep mode at Step 168. During that sleep mode, the resident has ample time to close the exterior door, go to his bedroom and go to bed. Under such a scenario, the system will sense no further movement within the home, thus leading the system to conclude that the resident has left the home.
The motion sensors 10 within the activity monitoring system 100 utilize a different logic scheme to address the disadvantages of the approximately four-minute long sleep period experienced by conventional motion sensors.
With reference to
Upon expiration of the timer 16, which was started or restarted at Step 72 and which occurs after N minutes at Step 62, at Step 64 a close is reported via a second signal from the transmitter 12. By close is meant that no activity has been detected within the N time period. Preferably, the N time period for which the timer 16 runs before expiring is about four minutes. It should be appreciated, however, that any amount of time should be suitable as long as the N time period is known. Longer N time periods may be useful in diminishing radio traffic and increasing battery life of the sensors 10, 32. After reporting a close at Step 64, the logic returns to Step 60.
The open and the close are both reported by transmitting the first and second signals to the monitoring center 42. An algorithm is utilized to calculate the actual close time of the timer 16, thus providing an actual time that activity ceased within the home 30. By comparing the actual time that activity has ceased in the home 30 with data from the external door sensors 32, an accurate determination as to whether inactivity within the home 30 is due to the resident being away from the home 30 can be made. Alternatively, whether inactivity within the home 30 is due to the resident ceasing to move also can be more accurately determined.
Next, with reference to
While in the Door Close State 208, the door sensors 32 can time out at Event 210 b, sending the home back into the Quiet State 200. The time out period is a configurable, pre-determined period of time. If the outer door opens again, as depicted by Event 210 a, the home 30 reverts to the Door Open State 204. From the Door Close State 208, if the sensors 10 monitor opening of the outer door, as depicted by Event 214 b, then the home 30 moves to the Active State 216.
From the Active State 216, the home 30 can move to the Quiet State 200 by the sensors 10 timing out, as depicted by the Event 218 b. It should be appreciated that the amount of time for the time out depicted in the Event State 218 b may be pre-selected and may be hardwired into the sensors 10 at, for example, about four minutes. The home 30 can then move back to the Active State by the sensors 10 monitoring movement in the home 30, as depicted by the Event 218 a. Further, the home 30 can move from the Active State 216 to the Door Open State 204 by the door sensors 32 monitoring opening of an outer door, as depicted by Event 212 a. Finally, from the Active State 216, the home 30 can revert to the Door Close State 208 by the door sensors 32 monitoring the outer door closing, as depicted by the Event 214 a.
The state diagram of
The State Model 56 (
While the invention has been described in detail in connection with only a limited number of embodiments, it should be readily understood that the invention is not limited to such disclosed embodiments. Rather, the invention can be modified to incorporate any number of variations, alterations, substitutions or equivalent arrangements not heretofore described, but which are commensurate with the spirit and scope of the invention. Additionally, while various embodiments of the invention have been described, it is to be understood that aspects of the invention may include only some of the described embodiments. Accordingly, the invention is not to be seen as limited by the foregoing description, but is only limited by the scope of the appended claims.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US5045839 *||Mar 8, 1990||Sep 3, 1991||Rand G. Ellis||Personnel monitoring man-down alarm and location system|
|US5153560 *||Aug 29, 1991||Oct 6, 1992||Sumitomo Metal Mining Company, Limited||Apparatus for detecting presence of person inside room having door|
|US5475364||Apr 28, 1994||Dec 12, 1995||Electronic Environmental Controls Inc.||Room occupancy fire alarm indicator means and method|
|US5476221 *||Jan 28, 1994||Dec 19, 1995||Seymour; Richard L.||Easy-to-install thermostatic control system based on room occupancy|
|US5692215||Dec 23, 1994||Nov 25, 1997||Gerotech, Inc.||System for generating periodic reports, generating trend analysis, and intervention in accordance with trend analysis from a detection subsystem for monitoring daily living activity|
|US5701117 *||Jan 18, 1996||Dec 23, 1997||Brian Page Platner||Occupancy detector|
|US5861806 *||Mar 19, 1997||Jan 19, 1999||James A. Bondell||Occupied room indicator|
|US5905436||Oct 23, 1997||May 18, 1999||Gerontological Solutions, Inc.||Situation-based monitoring system|
|US6002994 *||Sep 9, 1994||Dec 14, 1999||Lane; Stephen S.||Method of user monitoring of physiological and non-physiological measurements|
|US6108685 *||Nov 18, 1997||Aug 22, 2000||Behavioral Informatics, Inc.||System for generating periodic reports generating trend analysis and intervention for monitoring daily living activity|
|US6400265 *||Apr 24, 2001||Jun 4, 2002||Microstrategy, Inc.||System and method for monitoring security systems by using video images|
|US6540674||Dec 29, 2000||Apr 1, 2003||Ibm Corporation||System and method for supervising people with mental disorders|
|US6587049 *||Nov 28, 2001||Jul 1, 2003||Ralph W. Thacker||Occupant status monitor|
|US6850159 *||May 10, 2002||Feb 1, 2005||Brian P. Platner||Self-powered long-life occupancy sensors and sensor circuits|
|US20020171551||Mar 15, 2001||Nov 21, 2002||Eshelman Larry J.||Automatic system for monitoring independent person requiring occasional assistance|
|US20030112139 *||Sep 25, 2001||Jun 19, 2003||Masaru Matsui||Object status detector, object status detecting method, home electric appliances, network adopter, and media|
|EP1349128A2||Mar 26, 2003||Oct 1, 2003||Simon Lawrence Smith||System for monitoring an inhabited environment|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US7612681||Feb 6, 2007||Nov 3, 2009||General Electric Company||System and method for predicting fall risk for a resident|
|US7735918||Jan 9, 2008||Jun 15, 2010||Herman Miller||Office components, seating structures, methods of using seating structures, and systems of seating structures|
|US7855650||Apr 15, 2008||Dec 21, 2010||The General Electric Company||System and method for monitoring the cognitive ability of a person|
|US7896436||Apr 27, 2010||Mar 1, 2011||Herman Miller, Inc.||Office components, seating structures, methods of using seating structures, and systems of seating structures|
|US8577711||Jan 25, 2008||Nov 5, 2013||Herman Miller, Inc.||Occupancy analysis|
|US9094786||Feb 24, 2011||Jul 28, 2015||At&T Intellectual Property I, L.P.||Devices, systems, and methods for presence determination|
|US9344561||Jul 27, 2015||May 17, 2016||At&T Intellectual Property I, L.P.||Devices, systems, and methods for presence determination|
|US9377209 *||Aug 6, 2012||Jun 28, 2016||Somfy Systems, Inc.||Systems and methods for controlling the temperature of a room based on occupancy|
|US9671121 *||Feb 19, 2014||Jun 6, 2017||Enlighted, Inc.||Motion tracking|
|US20070195703 *||Feb 22, 2006||Aug 23, 2007||Living Independently Group Inc.||System and method for monitoring a site using time gap analysis|
|US20080186189 *||Feb 6, 2007||Aug 7, 2008||General Electric Company||System and method for predicting fall risk for a resident|
|US20080297365 *||May 30, 2007||Dec 4, 2008||Gainspan, Inc.||Method and system of guising communication using a chatter signal|
|US20090193217 *||Jan 25, 2008||Jul 30, 2009||Korecki Steven A||Occupancy analysis|
|US20090256710 *||Apr 15, 2008||Oct 15, 2009||The General Electric Company||System and method for monitoring the cognitive ability of a person|
|US20120318490 *||Aug 6, 2012||Dec 20, 2012||Energy Eye, Inc.||Systems and methods for controlling the temperature of a room based on occupancy|
|US20150123787 *||Nov 3, 2014||May 7, 2015||Saskatchewan Telecommunications||Centrally managed lone worker monitoring system and method|
|US20150234366 *||Feb 19, 2014||Aug 20, 2015||Enlighted, Inc.||Motion tracking|
|U.S. Classification||340/573.1, 340/517, 340/520, 340/506, 340/527, 340/523, 340/526|
|International Classification||G08B21/22, G08B23/00, G08B21/04|
|Cooperative Classification||G08B21/22, G08B21/0415, G08B21/0283, G08B21/0469, G08B21/028|
|European Classification||G08B21/04A1, G08B21/02A25T, G08B21/02A25, G08B21/04S4, G08B21/22|
|Apr 9, 2004||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY, NEW YORK
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:CUDDIHY, PAUL EDWARD;GANESH, MEENA;WEISENBERG, JENNY MARIE;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:015212/0063;SIGNING DATES FROM 20040406 TO 20040407
|Jun 28, 2010||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Aug 8, 2014||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Dec 26, 2014||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Feb 17, 2015||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20141226